About CoachVille

Quick Facts and History

Quick Facts

Our Vision: Everyone with the courage to play BIG in life has a great coach.

Our “Dynamic Duo” Purpose: The Pursuit of Human Greatness + The Pursuit of Coaching Mastery

Our primary purpose is to help you live a life of greatness and master the craft of coaching by providing a rich learning community. We support and inspire coaches all over the world in every form of human endeavor! Life coaches, sports coaches, career, business, business coaches, relationship and executive coaches;

If you are dedicated to helping others win the games of life through great coaching, then we want you on our team.

The complete CoachVille Purpose (The BIG WHY) is here

What is Coaching?

Coaching is NOT an intervention for people with problems!
Coaching is for people who want to play better at something that matters to them and win the games of their lives on their own terms.

Our emerging definition of the Coach Approach is here

A few things we want you to know about CoachVille…

1) Our membership includes A WEALTH of resources and tools. Basic Coach Membership is free. (Membership details are here) We realize that the number of things available can be a little overwhelming at times. Do not worry about trying to use it all, that will take a long time! Just find a few things that inspire or intrigue you right now and enjoy them, use them right away. Then come back for more.

2) We have a LOT of members and many of them are highly active on the site and in teleclasses. The best way to meet people at CV is by taking classes. IF you connect with a few people in every class, soon you will have a growing network of professional connections.

3) We have A LOT of educational programs that will help you on the path to coaching mastery. Our programs are delivered via recordings, teleclasses and occasional live events. We are quite enthusiastic about what we do and we will keep offering our programs to you. PLEASE, do not feel pressured or SOLD to. We just want you to know about everything that we have available, join in only when it serves you.

4) Our Center for Coaching Mastery is really pretty amazing. We have great classes, a fascinating teaching method to help you learn and practice and it is a great financial value. AND it is accredited by the ICF (International Coach Federation) Check it out!

We are really into Pattern Language

Pattern Language is a concept developed by the architect philosopher Christopher Alexander.
The idea is that you can use powerful descriptive phrases to put the desired energy into anything that you create.

This is the Pattern Language is the way we infuse the life of CoachVille into everything we do…

Relentless Enthusiasm

Wildly Innovative

Results Focused

Play Everything

Coach Approach

Be Generous

Why we do what we do

Our BIG Game is to host the community, resource center and training ground to help you be the best coach you can be!

As a coach, your job is to help your players / clients play the games of their lives better and win the on their own terms; Games that TRULY matter to them; Games that challenge them to grow and inspire the greatness within them. While at the same time playing fairly, respecting everyone in the game and being willing to learn from losing from time to time.

It’s a BIG and a VERY IMPORTANT JOB. We honor that. We know that the world is a beautiful place and it will be even better when everyone has a coach for their games of leadership, athletics, health, business, relationships, spirituality, finance, creativity and everything else life has to offer. Any endeavor in life can be designed as a winnable game worth playing and coaches alone are charged with helping everyone win the game that matters most to them right now.

We know that coaching is an honor AND that it takes a lot of courage, wisdom and resourcefulness to be a great coach.  We are here for you.

The Role of Coaching In the World…

In the 21st Century – The Connected Age of Purpose – The Coach Approach will replace Management Science as the fundamental framework for leadership and Human Achievement.   Learn more here

In our opinion, once you get beyond the basic human needs for survival MOST suffering is caused:
a) when people play an unwinnabe game OR
b) when people play a game that does not truly matter to them OR
c) when people have a meaningful and winnable game but never get the coaching they need to play the game well enough to win.

We believe we can solve the epidemic problems of confusion, overwhelm, frustration, isolation and apathy through great coaching.

We feel that coaching can achieve this kind of world impact through a grass roots approach among the Coaching Community.
This means we can win our BIG game ONLY by helping you play and win the coaching game. We need YOU to win.

What we offer

  • CoachVille offers cutting edge coach training, business development and personal development programs
  • CoachVille provides coach training for all levels of coaches through learning programs. These include internet based eCourses, live Teleclasses and on-site events
  • CoachVille operates one of the largest association/network of coaches worldwide
  • CoachVille operates the largest global think tank of coaches
  • All of our certified coach training programs are accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF)

CV the “Enterprise”

CoachVille is a virtual organization (no traditional offices) run by a small Leadership Team. The training staff, operations and member services teams are comprised of approximately 20 full and part-time staff and volunteers.

The 1000-person volunteer R&D helps us creates and polish content.


Who we serve

  • Professional Coaches at all levels of ability and experience
  • Leaders and managers who want to apply the Coach Approach organizational and personal career success
  • Entrepreneurs who want to apply the Coach Approach to business success
  • Anyone who wants to learn and apply the Coach Approach to life

Three Key Words – Three BIG Desires

There are three key words for our approach that are fueled by three powerful human desires:
Innovation – Training – Community


The desire to create
The practicing coach is a living environment for innovation. The issues, challenges and desires of every client co-mingle with those of the coach to create a tremendous desire to create. Because coaches work with clients with similar situations, the solutions that are co-created with any individual client create an immediate beneficial impact on every client in the coach’s practice.

“Sythesis is the cornerstone of the new age”
-Ra Uru Ku, creator of Human Design


The desire to learn
The practicing coach is a catalyst for human evolution because of the unquenchable desire to learn. Anytime a coach has a spark of desire to learn something – to play a new game – there is always a current or future client who has a need for the coach’s assimilation of that information. The coach generates a deep evolution-sparking understanding of what they have learned when they endeavor to apply it to life with another person.

“This is the timeless way of building: learning the discipline and shedding it”
– Christopher Alexander, architect, philosopher, author of A Timeless Way of Building


The desire to connect
The practicing coach becomes a vibrant hub for human connection because they are naturally oriented around adding value to the lives of others. Value-adding people become a gathering place both physically and virtually because we (humans) yearn to connect with others who share our values – people who are different enough to add something to our lives AND alike enough to mirror the part of ourselves we yearn to see.

“Anything worth doing is worth doing with someone else”
– Thomas Leonard. founder of CoachVille, The International Coach Federation, Author of “The Portable Coach”


The CoachVille Story

CoachVille launched as a global virtual community for coaches on June 2, 2000, founded by the late visionary Thomas J. Leonard, known as the founding father of  the field of personal and business coaching. Our original mission… to improve the quality of coaching worldwide, and to provide a home for every coach. Its guiding principle: “Adding Value for the Joy of It.” Thomas lived his words, and while in its early days, CoachVille membership was $79 for a lifetime, on August 29th, 2002 the doors to CoachVille were thrown wide open, and membership became free for all who wished to join the growing ranks of CoachVille coaches.

Thomas felt that “Everyone is a Coach.” Not a professional coach perhaps, but certainly a coach in their own way. From his perspective coaching was a set of advanced communication and relating skills, with knowledge and experience woven in. Our best guess is that the greatest source of growth in coaching is actually in the non-professional sector, meaning that managers become more coach-like in their dealings, ministers weave in coaching skills to their professional skill set, even accountants round out their style to including a coaching approach.

Within its first 100 days, CoachVille grew to become the largest network of coaches worldwide, reaching 5,300 members.
Currently CoachVille membership stands at 30,000+ with members in 175+ countries.

How Thomas Explained the phenomenal growth of CoachVille:

” Here is our best guess…

  1. The price point is fairly irresistible. Our low cost structure, online automation/technology and the volunteer support model makes this possible.
  2. The lifetime (vs. annual renewal membership) is a compelling model. Given high delivery cost structures, few virtual networks, schools or associations can afford to adopt this model.
  3. The 80% of folks who are coaching in some format simply who will not join a traditional coaching school or a traditional association, will join CoachVille given our a fresh model that is entirely value driven.
  4. The CoachVille rate of evolution and product development is very high. This is appealing because it keeps CoachVille fresh and exciting.
  5. CoachVille member referrals bring in 48% of new members. That is incredible/good and keeps CoachVille momentum sustainable.
  6. CoachVille is a worldwide phenomenon. We are on our way to members in 100 countries and then a presence in those countries.”


What matters most to us, as an organization:
Style: We do not do bland. We do fun, quirky, innovative, and edgy.
Effectiveness: We care about results! Our coaching/marketing tools get results for our members.
Speed: We eliminate delay at every opportunity, by over-responding.
Freshness: We are big on R&D and experimentation. No recycling here.
Community: We help members connect and contribute to each other.

How Our Members Experience CoachVille

  • As a place where they can be intellectually challenged.
  • As a place where they naturally become more creative.
  • As a place where they accelerate their personal evolution.
  • As a place where they can contribute.
  • As a place where big ideas can be freely tossed around.
  • As a place where they can access what is new in coaching.
  • As a place that they can call their professional home.
  • As a place where they add to their skill sets.
  • As a virtual community, available on demand, 24/7/365.

The Graduate School of Coaching

In 2001 we launched our first Coach Training program called the Graduate School of coaching.  The initial idea was to provide advanced training for folks who had already participated in another coach training program – which was the case for most of our originating members.

However, we quickly realized that many folks new to coaching were signing up for the program.  So we set out to create a complete curriculum that would serve both new and experienced coaches.

In 2006 we earned our ICF Accreditation and renamed our school: The Center for Coaching Mastery

One of the key features of our coach training is that it can be purchased as a complete certification program OR any class can be purchased a la carte for ICF CCEUs

One of the most unique features of our programs is the dynamic learning environment that includes dialogue-based learning, in-class practice, recordings of real coaching sessions and a fully gamified learning environment where participants are engaged to earn points by studying and delivering coaching.

We have had over 4,000 people participate in our Coach Training programs.

The CoachVille Coaching System

Developed in 2002 it is the ultimate work of Thomas Leonard. It was called the CoachVille Coaching System and featured the 5 15’s:

15 Proficiencies, 15 Clarifiers, 15 Frameworks, 15 Deliverables, 15 Communication Sytle Points and as a bonus the 15 Ultimate Outcomes.

It was a profound work of creative and collaborative genius.  Thomas sparked the original ideas and then discussed each one and “wordsmith’d” every nuance during hours and hours of conversation with the CoachVille R&D team (a global think tank of coaches that he had formed).

It still stands as the clearest and most inspiring description of the craft of coaching.

Thomas Leonard passes the baton to Dave Buck

In February 2003, Thomas Leonard died suddenly and tragically of a heart attack. The Will that Thomas had prepared stated that Dave Buck would inherit his estate. Thomas had made Dave his sole beneficiary for the purposes of continuing the work of CoachVille. After his passing CV was run for a short time by a management company selected by the executor of the estate. In January 2004 the estate distributed the “asset” known as CoachVille to Dave Buck and Dave became CoachVille CEO.

The Story of Thomas & Dave

Holding the Vision

CoachVille has continued to lead the Coach Approach movement in the world.

We have built and continued to innovate our Coach Training program – The Center for Coaching Mastery – based on the core ideas that Thomas laid out for us.

We continue to push the boundaries of where coaching can go to make the world a better place.

We keep playing to evolve the best ways to help anyone with the desire to become a great coach.

Books by Coachville Founder, Thomas J. Leonard

The Portable Coach: 28 Surefire Strategies for Business and Personal Success (Scribner, 1998) by Thomas J. Leonard
(now available as “The 28 Principles of Attraction”

Simply Brilliant: 1800 Success Tips and Life Lessons from America’s Top Personal and Business Coaches (Coach U Press, 1999) Edited by Thomas J. Leonard

Working Wisdom: Top 10 Lists for Improving Your Business (Bard Press, 1998) by Thomas J. Leonard